So far it seems like the best parts of this season will all take place up at the wall. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are some other good arcs in the season as well, Daenerys in Mereen looks like it’s gonna be awesome, there is great potential in the way the King’s Landing story is going and so on. But the parts at the wall have so far all been very solid, and so too they were this week.
To begin with, I like the way the interaction between Jon and Allister Thorne played out. Allister wasn’t as far as I remember ever made first ranger in the books, but having it be so is a very convenient way for the writers of the show to get the point across about how Jon is being a competent commander of the Watch, able to consolidate his power among people who don’t like him and so on. I do have a single small detail to remark upon here, it’s not really significant but I can’t let it go. When Allister stands up between Slynt and the people coming to seize him on Jon’s orders, Allister should have grabbed his sword hilt and pulled out the blade a few inches from the sheet before letting it go and standing aside. It would have taken three seconds longer and really highlighted how Allister wants to stand with Slynt against Jon but then realizes it’s unwise.
Slynt did his part rather well too, perhaps with the caveat that his cowardice has been overplayed throughout the entire series. He is supposed to have a breakdown before having his head cut of, who wouldn’t, but the way they went from him hiding in a closet during the fight to this specific kind of breakdown perhaps goes too far.
Staying with the north, Sansa finally made her appearance at Winterfell. I mentioned this in my predictions for this season, and I’m sure I will at some point be bothered with how this turns out, either when Ramsey does what he does or when Brienne arrives, but so far the scenes have all been well made, the dialog ranging from decent to great and the acting of everyone involved good enough. But there is one detail here that I want to highlight, namely the close-up on Ramsey’s previous “girlfriend” (i.e the woman he had sex with and hunted other women with).
She is clearly seeing her position being pulled away from her by some random Stark appearing out of nowhere and marrying Ramsey. Since we know that this Mirranda, if I recall her name correctly, is just as fucked in the head as Bolton junior, there will be a confrontation. The younger Stark girl has also run into a female antagonist, and I suspect we will see some sort of mirrored situation here. Sansa will fight one girl in Winterfell while Arya fights another in Braavos, either for the purpose of highlighting the similarities between their situations or the difference between their personalities.
The episode was called “The High Sparrow”, for reasons I suspect are apparent to everyone, and of course the main story in this episode was the events in King’s Landing. I am going to skip saying too much about the scenes that were pure exposition, like the two close-ups of vaginas, and just say that the man playing the High Sparrow sure is convincing. He is going to be, I think, one of the main stars of this season, and that whole plot-line is going to ensure that we don’t just get seven more episodes of Margery vs Cersei. When it comes to Margery Tyrell I really like the character in the books but her part in this episode just felt so cheesy.
The main objection I have with the King’s Landing plot is that the whole thing risks coming off as very rushed. Cersei’s walk of shame is happening this season, I was in Split in Croatia last year, and the location the whole thing was filmed a week after the shooting, so I feel pretty sure that it’s happening. But it means we only have a few more episodes for them to build up to Cersei’s arrest, which means that they have to get cracking.